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Writing & Documenting in APA A Concise Guide for GU Students Part One: Formatting in APA Style Tanya A. Klatt, MA; Timothy P. Goss, MA; and Alexander V. Ames, Ph.D
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Writing & Documenting in APA

Mar 15, 2022

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Writing & Documenting in APA A Concise Guide for GU Students
Part One: Formatting in APA Style
Tanya A. Klatt, MA; Timothy P. Goss, MA;
and Alexander V. Ames, Ph.D
1
What is APA? The term APA refers to a style of writing, including formatting, documentation of sources, tone,
organization of ideas, and so on, as determined by the American Psychological Association. For many
students, the very idea of having to learn APA, no less to write in that style, is terrifying. We understand
that. Most of us felt the same way when we encountered one of these writing styles for the first time. That
is exactly what we are doing here. There are several different styles of documentation available to the
academic writer (e.g. MLA, Chicago, etc.), depending upon his or her field of study. Here at Grantham,
we use the APA style because it best fits the disciplinary needs of most of our degree programs.
We use APA for the following reasons:
1. APA standardizes the way documents appear. For most assignments, teachers evaluate ideas, not
one’s skills in document design. We use APA to be fair.
2. APA defines the way we should give credit to our sources. We use APA to be transparent.
3. APA helps the organization of the material in a document. If we all present our information in the
same way, our readers can engage with our ideas more quickly and more completely. We use
APA to be efficient and thorough (Goss, 2012, para. 9).
4. APA is the accepted standard style or, at least, an appropriate style for the fields of study and
professions aligned with the overwhelming majority of our degree programs. We use APA to
meet industry standards.
5. APA is our established University-wide style because settling on a single style allows us--
students, faculty, and administrators--to avoid any confusion resulting from using a variety of
styles. We use APA to remain consistent.
Think Monopoly.
Any board game has its own specific rules that everyone who plays has to follow. APA, while arguably
more important than a simple board game, is still just that: a game; one with specific rules to follow and
certain rewards and penalties for following or not following those rules. This guide has been put together
to help alleviate some of the fear you may have about APA by defining the parameters of the APA
environment and by clearly spelling out the way this game works.
Our goal is not to make you APA experts in the short time we have to work together. These things take
time to perfect, so you should not expect to learn everything right away. Our goal is instead to make you
aware of the basic skills you need to format and write an APA style paper, and to give you the knowledge
to explain some basic principles of APA should you run across the topic in a conversation (if this
happens, you may need to attend better parties). Learning APA will help you to write better academic
papers by helping you to work with the ideas of others while avoiding plagiarism and by helping to
organize your ideas more clearly and concisely so they are more easily received by your readers.
2
Using this Guide
Before you get started learning APA, you’ll need to know how to get the most out of this guide
Throughout your courses, you will see a list of things you need to read and write in order complete the
work for that week. Because each assignment may cause you to call on a different set of writing skills, it
may be a good idea to refer to this guide frequently for detailed information concerning the various
components of the APA style.
This guide has been set into four parts: 1. Formatting in APA Style; 2. Plagiarism; 3. Academic Tone,
Documenting and Citing; and 4. Proofreading, APA and the Internet. Each of these parts build on the
information found in the previous parts, but they have also been designed to work as individual reference
guides. It is a good idea to read each part in succession, and then reference the work as needed.
We hope this helps you throughout your education here at Grantham University.
*Note that the written materials for this guide are instructional. Though the writers of this course took
measures to mirror academic tone when applicable and to strictly follow APA guidelines, the purpose
and audience for this course demanded that the writers approached these lessons in a broader format.
**This guide follows the standardized APA rules set forth in The Publication Manual of the American
Psychological Association, (6th ed.).
Formatting in APA style
Every paper that is submitted for grading through a writing assignment drop box should be formatted
according to APA style. The following example paper illustrates how a properly formatted paper should
look.
To help simplify the process, we have placed an APA Template in the Course Resources folder to help
you when formatting your work in APA style.
Terms to know: If you are unfamiliar with these terms please review them in the Glossary.
flush left: flush right
including the Header
Times New Roman,
abbreviated title (no
more than 50
characters, or five
Header Section should
generally not required
for shorter academic
papers. Ask your
to include one.
Abstracts are short
summaries of the
following paper. They
research tool that helps
are something they
work.
prohibited in abstracts.
The beginning of
each paragraph is
indented one tab.
All paragraphs in
page is still plural.
flush left, while a
hanging indent is used
for each following line
edition format.
Association, (6th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association
Goss, T. P. (2012). Guide to APA: Some perspective, please. [Weblog]. Retrieved from
http://blog.grantham.edu/blog/bid/119294/Guide-to-APA-Style-Some-Perspective-
Please.
Goss, T. P., Klatt, T. A., & Ames, A. V. (2012). How I write: A guide to academic writing.
Kansas City, MO: Grantham University Press.
© Grantham University 2012
Part Two: Avoiding Plagiarism
and Alexander V. Ames, Ph.D
11
According to the Grantham University Catalog and Student Handbook (2012): “plagiarism is
presenting the ideas or work of others (including other students) as his/her original work”
(“Plagiarism,” p. 46). When we do this, we are guilty of cheating. Blatant plagiarism is the same
as looking at someone else’s paper during an exam and stealing their answers. Plagiarism is,
above and beyond all other things, the worst academic crime one can commit. Being found guilty
of plagiarism can cause one to fail an assignment, fail a class, or be kicked out of school.
So why do we not simply call plagiarism cheating?
Unfortunately, plagiarism is not just about cheating. If it were, we would simply say, “don’t
cheat” and then deal with those students who purposefully broke the rules, but there is more to
the story.
Plagiarism can also occur when we fail to cite our sources properly or if we rely too heavily on
the work of others. As a college student, you will be expected to work with the ideas and words
of others, but you will also be expected to learn how to give the necessary credit in the right way.
You will be expected to, in most cases, develop and present your own words and ideas, and only
use other people to enhance what you are saying, not to dictate what you are saying.
To put the nature of writing academically into perspective, you need to know that a paper is a
written document that demonstrates what you think and know about a topic, and it shows the
time you have spent thinking about, analyzing, interacting with, and synthesizing the ideas of
others who stand as experts in the field of study.
A paper is a reflection of your ideas, not a reflection of what you have read.
We give these experts credit through in-text and References page documentation. We will talk
more about that as we move forward in the class, but it is never too early to start thinking about
this process. We cite our sources for two reasons: First, because the author worked to develop his
or her own ideas, and it is unethical to steal those ideas; second, and possibly the more important
of our reasons, we identify our sources so our readers can engage in the same research we did,
should they choose to, and be better able to understand what we are saying.
If you would like to understand more about plagiarism so you can avoid it in your future work,
the following tutorial should help you stay on the right path.
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Avoiding Plagiarism Terms to Know: If you are unfamiliar with these terms please review them in the Glossary.
block quotation
To be more specific, plagiarism includes:
a. Copying word-for-word from the web or other source and using it in your paper or
discussion forum post as “your” writing.
b. Paraphrasing from a source without giving credit.
c. Paraphrasing incorrectly even if you provided a citation. Ensure that no more than
three words in a row match the source document and that your sentence organization
doesn’t mirror the original document.
.
Types of Plagiarism
When the subject of plagiarism comes up, students will often respond with: “What if the
plagiarism was unintentional?” This is a good question. While your instructors will work to help
you improve your citation skills, it is ultimately your responsibility to learn to avoid these
unintentional errors. Still, we do make a distinction between types of plagiarism.
Plagiarism is presenting the ideas or work of others (including other students) as
his/her original work. A student is required to acknowledge all sources of submitted
work. Specifically, each student must acknowledge direct quotations, paraphrases,
ideas, figures, tables, charts, statistics, images, photographs, source codes, circuits,
and other sources. Papers and other materials either given to the student or obtained
otherwise, if submitted as the work of anyone except the source, constitute a
violation of the code of conduct. (“Plagiarism,” 2012, p. 46)
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Blatant Plagiarism: Blatant plagiarism occurs when a student presents a piece of writing that
has very little original student work. These papers are often pieced together from several online
sources or they match another piece of writing word-for-word. This type of plagiarism is blatant;
it is cheating and therefore cannot be accepted for credit and is subject to punitive action. Do not,
under any circumstances, turn in a piece of writing that is not your own work. If you are caught,
you will not like the results.
Improper Documentation: Improper documentation happens when a student paper has several
documentation errors that result in plagiarism, but most of the paper was authored by the student.
This usually happens when students are in a rush, haven’t read the course material, or they didn’t
understand the rules for APA style. Many students might consider theses errors to be
unintentional, but managing time, reading the course material, and asking for clarification on
assignments are all student responsibilities. Learning how and when to cite is therefore,
incredibly important. Until you are completely comfortable with the process:
1. Review the Documentation Section of this APA guide.
2. Ask your instructor for clarification
3. Submit your paper to the Writing Center for review.
4. Run your paper through a plagiarism checker.
5. If you don’t have time to do the above, ask your instructor for a lesson extension. It is
better to request more time than to submit a document with errors.
How do I give credit to a source?
You must include a citation after each quote or paraphrased passage. You must also have a
References page attached to the end of your paper. The citation in text should always pair with a
citation in the reference page. If you have unmatched citations in either the body of your text or
the reference page, your instructor may suspect plagiarism.
When we work with the ideas or creations of others, we have to document where we found our
information. We do this for two reasons:
1. Not to do so is cheating.
1. So we can track information to its original source to verify its validity and expand our
knowledge on the subject.
Buying, purchasing, copying, or piece-mailing the work of others and turning it in as your own
is NOT unintentional plagiarism.
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If we were to write the following passage, for example, we would need to cite within the text of
our paper:
We’ve cited in the text, but we’re not done yet; now we have to put together our References
page:
Notice how the in-text citations within the text are paired with the citations in the References
page. In-texts citations are like tabs in the text. If we are reading the above text, for instance, and
we want to know more about what we are reading, we can simply find the in-text citation,
15
Benson, for example, and then find the full citation in the References page. That way, we can
look up the original author, track the progression of this idea, verify its validity, and find out
more about the topic.
As writers, we make choices about what to add into our work, and what to leave out. By
providing our sources, we don’t just give the proper credit to those who informed our work, we
also are able to afford our readers the opportunity to experience the things we could not fit into
our paper.
*Note that the passages in the above examples are for illustrative purposes only. These are not
real sources and do not reflect actual facts.
Tips for Avoiding Plagiarism:
1. If you quote from a source you need an in-text citation and a work-cited entry.
2. Anything copied word-for-word must be inside of quotation marks.
3. If you paraphrase from your source, you need an in-text citation and a References page
entry.
4. If you have a lengthy quote (forty words or more), according to APA guidelines, you
will need to indent it as a block quotation. Be careful with long quotations. Anything
more than 20% of your paper in quotations can be counted as plagiarism. Remember that
quotes and paraphrased material should support your writing, not take it over.
5. Quotes and paraphrasing must be properly integrated into your paper. An entire
paragraph of paraphrased material might set off a plagiarism checker. Once again, your
researched material should play a supporting role and not a lead role. Never produce a
paragraph that is 100% quoted or cited material.
6. You should never cut-and-paste an online paper or article and submit it as your work.
This is blatant plagiarism and it will be reported to the university for possible punitive
action.
7. Be careful when using quoted material found inside of your source (secondary
sources). If you want to use the quotation, it is good practice to search for the original
article online and cite the original work. Not citing a secondary source properly can red-
flag your paper for plagiarism. If you use quoted material from another source, cite the
primary source and add the word In to the citation: (In Greives, 2004).
8. Do not use papers you have written for other classes or published papers. This
includes papers you submitted on a blog or anywhere else on the Internet. Submitting
previously written material for a lesson in class is called self-plagiarism. Self-plagiarism
is prohibited at Grantham University.
16
9. Never post any content (lessons, lesson directions, tests, etc) anywhere on the Internet
as this violates copyright laws. All of the lessons, tests, and texts found in GLIFE and
your ANGEL courses are copyrighted by Grantham University. Students do not have
permission to paste or upload Grantham material on the web - period. If a student is
found to have posted Grantham materials (lessons, questions, tests, etc) on the Internet
this could lead to expulsion from the University and serious legal trouble. Violating
copyright law is not just an academic blunder, it is also a crime.
10. Never cut and paste word-for-word material into your document with the intention of
applying proper documentation later. Always write first and add your research later. Do
not take short cuts with your documentation. Make 3x5 note cards or keep a list
documenting the raw data on every article you think you may use, along with the passage
you plan to either directly quote or paraphrase.
A Visual Guide to Help Avoid Plagiarism
(Komm, 2012)
Komm, A. (2012). Avoiding plagiarism flow chart. Grantham University, Kansas City, MO.
Plagiarism. (2012). In Grantham University: University catalog and student handbook.
Retrieved from http://www.grantham.edu/public_media/PDF-University-Catalog-
Writing & Documenting in APA A Concise Guide for GU Students
Part Three: Academic Tone, Documentation, and Citing
Tanya A. Klatt, MA; Timothy P. Goss, MA;
and Alexander V. Ames, Ph.D
19
Academic Tone and APA Terms to Know: If you are unfamiliar with these terms, please review them in the Glossary.
point of view
cliches
While not everything you will be asked to write will follow strict academic tone, it is important to get to
know the difference between writing in a personal environment, a professional environment, and in the
academic environment (i.e. a University classroom, including an online classroom such as this).
Throughout the course, you see a great deal of attention paid to the importance of taking your reader into
account. In no situation, perhaps, is this more true than when one is writing for an academic (i.e.
scholarly) audience, including adhering to APA style.
Note the differences in style and tone in the following examples. In each instance, each of the three
statements communicates more or less the same idea (to a greater or lesser extent), but does so in a style
and with a tone distinguishing it from the other statements
Example One:
Personal
I’m going to have to cancel the game tonight. It’s raining cats and dogs and the field is
underwater. We’ll pick this up next week.
Professional
Due to excessive water on the field caused by the rain, the employee softball game will be
canceled tonight. Per company policy, we will reschedule the game for next week.
Academic
Weather delays are one of the few drawbacks for outdoor sports. Often, rain causes games to be
either delayed or rescheduled. Such were the circumstances in the case of the game originally
scheduled for this evening, which will have to be rescheduled due to a rainfall of more than four
inches within the last twenty-four hours.
Example Two:
Personal:
You really shouldn’t wear such revealing clothing at work. It’s distracting and you might get sent
home or fired.
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Professional:
All employees at DCH Lenders should wear appropriate clothing while working. Appropriate
clothing guidelines are set forth in the employee handbook and published on the company
website.
Academic:
Professionals should refer to established company policies when choosing their work attire.
Many corporations require traditional, formal, attire of their employees in order to positively
impress the public, specifically clients and potential clients, and to minimize distractions to their
employees in the workplace. DCH Lenders, for example, sets specific dress codes for their
employees and communicate those policies through their employee handbook and company
website.
Notice the increased formality of the Professional style in comparison with the Personal style. The
professionally styled text is matter of fact, reading almost as if it were a legal document. Now, compare
both the examples of the Professional and Personal style with the examples of Academic style. What
differences do you notice? Like the examples of the Professional style, the Academic style is more formal
than the personal, and more detailed and precise than either the Personal or Professional style.
The examples of the Personal style may rely upon a degree of familiarity between writer and reader,
which allows for merely suggestive statements as “you really shouldn’t wear such revealing clothing at
work …” (e.g. what qualifies as “revealing?”). The Professional style may be concise in its own, direct,
way (e.g. statements may read as pronouncements because --in the case of the dress code--the author is
simply issuing employees a directive, not trying to convince them of the justice of the dress code in
question). Contrastingly, the examples of the Academic style are not only formal in tone, they are far
more detailed than those of the other styles because they must present the academic reader with precise
evidence of the claims being made.
21
Documentation: Overview Terms to Know: If you are unfamiliar with these terms please review them in the Glossary.
attributive tag
source
When utilizing ideas other than your own in a document of your own authorship, whether it is a chapter
from your Grantham text, a quote from an article you have found through your research, or a personal
interview, always attribute those ideas to their authors (i.e you always need to do the following):
Integrate the borrowed idea with your original ideas. This is done by using attributive tags
(also known as signal phrases).
Provide an in-text citation. This means that you need to include an abbreviated citation of your
source material in the body of your paper. In-text citations should always appear after the
borrowed the material and not at the end of each paragraph. This signals to the reader that what
they just read was borrowed material and the in-text citation will give them the information they
need to find that particular source in the reference page.
Create a full list of the research sources used at the end of the paper. This is an alphabetized
list that provides the reader with the full data they need to located the article. A basic citation will
include the following: authors name, source title, and the full publication information.
We will discuss how we do these three things throughout this guide. Our goal, in terms of documentation,
is to help you construct a basic understanding of how and where to cite your sources, so that this process
becomes a natural step in your writing process and so it will not be so difficult to do in your later
coursework.
Here at Grantham University you will be expected to adhere to APA style. With that in mind, anytime a
source is used in a paper an in-text citation, a References page is needed to give credit to the author of the
original idea.
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Basic APA Constructions Each reference or source within an APA-style paper appears in two places: 1). within the text following a
quotation, summarized, or paraphrased passage, and 2). in a References page. In-text citations (aka.
parenthetical citations) show what material is being used at what point within the text, while References
page citations show where that reference or source can be found externally.
APA citations are constructed using a basic format:
In-Text Citations
When using a source or reference, you need to create an in-text citation that includes three basic elements:
The author’s or authors’ last names—if no author, use the first five or fewer words of the title of
the source. Encase the title in quotation marks.
The year of publication—if no year, use the letters n.d. (meaning “no date”)
The page or paragraph number—page numbers are preceded with p. for one page, pp. for multiple
pages. Paragraphs are used if there are no page numbers and are preceded with para.
These elements should appear within parentheses and follow the quotation or information being cited.
(author’s last name, the year of publication, and the page or paragraph number)
For Example:
(Phillips, n.d., para. 7).
References Page Citations
References page citations are grouped on their own page at the end of a paper. The first word or words of
the Reference page citation should match the corresponding first word or words of the in-text citation.
References page citations can take on many forms, however, they do follow a basic structure.
The last name of the author or authors, each followed by their first initial(s)
The year of publication (add the month if available)
The name of the text
If part of a collection (website, anthology, journal, magazine, etc.), the name of that source
The publisher
After this stage, References page citations fluctuate depending on the type of text being cited.
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BASIC CITATION EXAMPLES (References page and in-text citations)
The following list reflects some of the more common citations you will likely use throughout
your education.
Book
Harris, J. (2006). Rewriting: How to do things with texts. Logan, Utah: Utah State
University Press.
Chapter or Section within a Book
Braddock, R., Lloyd-Jones, R., & Schoer, L. (2009). From Research in Written
Composition. In S. Miller (Ed.), The Norton book of composition studies. (pp.
193-215). New York: W. W. Norton and Company.
(Braddock, Lloyd-Jones, & Schoer, 2009, pp. 193-215).
Online Journal Article with doi
Bercovitch, F. B., & Berry, P. M. (2012). Ecological determinates of herd size in the
Thornicroft’s giraffe of Zambia. African Journal of Ecology, 48(4), 962-971. doi:
10.1111/j.1365-2028.2009.01198.x
Online Journal Article without doi
Stanczak, S. (2009). Write what you know, and know what you write. Writer, 122(11), 14
(Stanczak, 2009, p. 14).
National Park Service, National Trails Intermountain Region. (2012). About Challenge
Cost Share FY 2012. Retrieved from http://www.nps.gov/trte/parkmgmt/
upload/About-CCSP-FY12-SF_SB.pdf
Motion Picture
Mark, L. (Producer), & Van Sant. G. (Director). (2000). Finding Forrester [Motion
picture]. United States of America: Columbia Pictures.
(Mark, 2000).
Legal Case
Missouri v. Cuffley, 927 F. Supp. 1248 (E.D. Mo 1996)
(Missouri v. Cuffley, 1996).
Website
USA Today. (2012, June 06). Army to review mental health compensation. American
Psychological Association. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/news/psycport/
PsycPORTArticle.aspx?id=usatoday_2012_06_06_eng-usatoday_news_eng-
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Blog
Teicheira, D. (2012, April 26). 6 useful ways proofreading can save your research paper
[Web log post]. Retrieved from http://blog.grantham.edu/ blog/bid/124655/6-
Useful-Ways-Proofreading-Can-Save-Your-Research-Paper
(Teicheria, 2012)
Citations in the EBSCOhost Database This guide will cover the basic citation styles you will see in EBSCO.
EBSCO citation tool: see the link under the Resources tab within the course.
EBSCO errors: Althought EBSCO has citation tools that you can use to create full sources citations, you
will still need to check your citations against the guide below.
If you spot these errors after using the EBSCO citation tool you will need to revise the citation in your
paper.
APA is the only approved documentation style at Grantham University
The EBSCOhost Database is the preferred research source for many Grantham classes
Students should include in-text citations and a references page for outside sources used in a
paper, journal, or other writing assignment. APA documentation in discussion forums is also
highly encouraged in all courses and required in many. If you don’t know how this works in
your particular class, ask your instructor.
Some known EBSCO errors are:
Title or author’s name in ALL-CAPS
Titles with capitalization after the first word.
Improper citations for six or more authors.
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What is a doi? Because the URLs of web sites and other web-based/online resources we need to reference can often
change as sites, databases, etc. reorganize/relocate their contents, it is important to provide your readers
with a stable link to the online materials you cite. Some online content providers now provide an
alphanumeric code, known as a DOI (an acronym standing for Digital Object Identifier). If a source you
cite provides a DOI, you should include it in your citation instead of the URL, placing it in the space that
would otherwise be occupied by the URL in the citation in question. However, if the content provider
does not make a DOI available to you should reference the URL for site, database, etc. in question.
In-Text Citation Examples
two authors (Collette & Bradbury, 2009)
three to five authors First citation: (Martinez, Kock, & Cass, 2011); Subsequent Citations:
(Martinez et al., 2011)
no author (Federation of European Biochemical Societies, 1967)
References Page Citation Examples
one author Oates, J. (2010). A widow’s story. New Yorker, 86(40), 70-79.
two authors Collette, C. P., & Bradbury, N. (2009). Time, measure, and value in
Chaucer's art and Chaucer's world. Chaucer Review, 43(4), 347-
350.
three to five authors Martinez, C., Kock, N., & Cass, J. (2011). Pain and pleasure in short
paper writing: Factors predicting university students' writing
anxiety and writing self-efficacy. Journal Of Adolescent &
Adult Literacy, 54(5), 351-360. doi:10.1598/JAAL.54.5.5
seven + authors Kimbrell, T., Pyne, J. M., Kunik, M. E., Magruder, K. M., Petersen, N. J.,
Yu, H., & Qureshi, S.U. (2011). The impact of Purple Heart
commendation and PTSD on mortality rates in older veterans.
Depression & Anxiety (1091-4269), 28(12), 1086-1090.
doi:10.1002/da.20850
no author Federation of European Biochemical Societies (1967). European Journal
of Biochemistry, 1(1), 125-127.
Lewis, C.S. (1964). The discarded image: An introduction to medieval
and renaissance literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press.
magazine / periodical Oates, J. (2010). A widow’s story. New Yorker, 86(40), 70-79.
newspaper Vega, T. (2011, March 17). Paper admits to plagiarism by reporter. New
York Times. p. A3.
Attributive Tags / Signal Phrases
In order to help introduce our sources, it is always best to introduce quoted, paraphrased, or
summarized material with an attributive tag (also known as a signal phrase). An attributive tag is
simply an introduction of the author and/or his or her work.
For instance, we could say:
“All ducks like pickles” (Wheelhouse, 2007, p. 27).
But our words would sound more credible were we to say:
According to Arthur Wheelhouse (2007), “All ducks like pickles” (p. 27).
If we can find the authors credentials, we can make this even better (we refer to this as
“qualifying the source”):
According to Pulitzer Prize winning author and naturalist Arthur Wheelhouse (2007),
“All ducks like pickles” (p. 27).
Now we pay attention. There must be something to that duck and pickle connection. After all, if
an award-winning author is talking about it, it must be important, right?
The attribute tag can be used to lend credibility to your quoted source. Therefore, if the goal of
your paper is to argue about a hot political topic, you would want to point out that the author of
the quote you are about to use is a political science professor. If you are discussing a children’s
health topic you would want to note that your quotation is from a pediatrician. Always look at
the fine print that follows your article and check the author’s credentials so you can use them to
your advantage in an argument or claim.
Another goal of the attributive tag is to help readers identify the author of the quotation as they
read it. They will then be able to locate the full source citation in your references, and if
interested, they will have the information they need to find the full text by that particular author.
Basic Formula for Integrating Quotations
Patrick Star (2012) declared, “...”
If we qualify our source, we might say:
Marine life expert Patrick Star (2012) stated, “...”
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If we have already used a quotation from the same author, we only use his or her last name:
Star claimed, “...”
It should be noted that attributive tags are not always at the beginning of a quotation. Sometimes
we need to mix things up.
Beginning of Sentence:
In his 2008 article “Fat Toddlers” Ronald Fry suggests that “There are too many fat
toddlers these days! Parents need to cut back on the amount of sugary snacks and
processed food that they feed their children” (p. 9).
Middle of Sentence:
There are too many fat toddlers these days!” exclaims Ronald Fry in his 2008 article, “Fat
Toddlers” “Parents need to cut back on the amount of sugary snacks and processed food
that they feed their children” (p. 9).
End of Sentence:
“There are too many fat toddlers these days! Parents need to cut back on the amount of
sugary snacks and processed food that they feed their children” suggests Ronald Fry in
his 2008 article, “Fat Toddlers” (p. 9).
Common Attributive Verbs
The following list contains verbs commonly used in signal phrases:
claims
contends
emphasizes
explains
expresses
illustrates
implies
maintains
presents
proposes
disputes
reports
states
suggests
writes
Though we may feel a real connection to our sources, we are never on a first-name basis
with them. We can never say, “Patrick claims . . .;” we have to say, “Star claims . . . .”
29
Block Quotations
In APA style, if you use a quotation that is 40 words or longer, you must format your quotation
according to the following rules:
1 Like all other text in the paper, block quotations are double-spaced
2. Block quotations are set apart from the rest of the text as if they are their own paragraph
3. All lines in block quotations should be indented ½ inch (one tab) from the left margin
(the first line should not be further indented)
4. Citations should not be included in the end punctuation
5. Quotation marks should be removed
For example:
(Goss, 2012)
Goss, T. P. (2012). A case for clarity. Unpublished Manuscript.
© Grantham University 2012
Writing & Documenting in APA A Concise Guide for GU Students
Part Four: Proofreading; APA & the Internet
Tanya A. Klatt, MA; Timothy P. Goss, MA;
and Alexander V. Ames, Ph.D
32
Proofreading for APA style
As we move into the final stage of this writing project, it might be a good idea to go back and
review the entire APA guide to ensure that you have all of the pieces in place for this final step.
Throughout this tutorial, we will discuss some of the key areas you need to look at when
proofreading to make sure your paper meets APA standards.
Checking your Work
This checklist should be used to ensure that your papers and documents are in proper APA style.
Formatting:
One inch margins on all sides.
Running head is the title of your paper (up to 50 characters; no longer than five words).
Running head (abbreviated title) is flush left and in ALL-CAPS.
Page number is top, flush right, starting on the title page
In-text Citations:
Do you provide appropriate in-text (i.e. parenthetical) citations for all uses of external
source material?
Do those in-text (i.e. parenthetical) citations include all of the necessary information (e.g.
author name(s), dates)?
Do those in-text (i.e. parenthetical) citations precede the final punctuation of the
sentences in which they appear?
Reference Page:
Is your References page separated from the last page of your paper with a page-break? It
is important that your References page begin at the top of a new page immediately
following the last page of the text of your essay, report, paper, etc. So, you need to insert
a page-break (e.g. see the “insert” menu if using Microsoft Word) after the last line of the
33
text of your paper, rather than using the Return/Enter key, to ensure that your list of
References begins at the top of the following page.
Is your References page formatted according to the guidelines outlined above (e.g. is the
title References centered)?
Are lines following the first line in each entry, indented appropriately? Hint: the way to
ensure proper indentation is by setting/changing the hanging indent within your
document, rather than by using space or tab key.
Remember to Check Your Paper for Possible Plagiarism:
(Komm, 2012)
APA and the Internet
Terms to Know: If you are unfamiliar with these terms please review them in the Glossary.
database
online library
search engine
credible sources
paper mill
message boards
In many of your classes at Grantham, you will be expected to use the EBSCO library database
for your research paper and any other formal papers. Many students will often say, “I prefer to
use Google for my research.” While Google is a fantastic Internet search engine, it is not a
library database. Google will lead you to everything that is out there on the web and while some
of the search results are credible, many are not. Google Books and Google Scholar can be more
useful to academic researchers, but they do not provide academic research with as many full-text
resources as does the University’s official free library research databsase, EBSCO, which is a
collection of scholarly journals, newspapers, and documents that a person might find in an on-
ground university library.
With that being said, indiscussions and in your journal, you might find that you want to use a
source from the Internet. Perhaps you want to share an idea you found at a particular website or
you want to talk about a YouTube Video. This chapter will help you decide which sources to use
and which sources to avoid.
Characteristics of a Credible Website
Identifiable: the site and its content can be positively attributed to a recognizable
publication (e.g. scholarly journal, research database, major newspaper) or institution
(e.g. local, county, state, or federal government agencies); can be attributed to an author
or group of authors (preferable but not essential).
Impartial: while complete impartiality is, perhaps, unattainable, it is important that those
sites you reference in support of your arguments demonstrate as little bias as possible
relative to the question(s) at issue you address in your argument(s).
Substantiated: include primary source data and/or appropriately formatted citations of
relevant primary source material verifiable citations
35
Newsources & Newspapers: CNN, NPR, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, etc.
.gov: Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; United States Department of
Agriculture; Federal Student Aid Information Center, etc.
online periodicals: New Yorker, Time, U.S. News, etc.
Use with
Extreme
Caution
Professional blogs: Even the most credible of these should never be used as a
primary source. Even as a secondary source, it is important to vet the authors of
such blogs for their credibility concerning the topic in question.
.orgs - avoid political, controversial, or overtly biased organizations.
Wikipedia: this very popular, collaborative, online encyclopedia is a great tool
for acquainting oneself with a wide variety of topics, but, like other encyclopedias,
(e.g. Encyclopedia Britainica) it is a reference work offering cursory information that
is not peer-reviewed. Wikipedia cannot be considered a repository of scholarly work
and should therefore never be used as a source in academic writing.
About.com: similar to Wikipedia in that it is not vetted. Articles are written by paid
contributors. Reliability is questionable.
YouTube: as with Wikipedia, YouTube is not a vetted academic source of
information. In a rare video or two, there may be scholars discussing scholarly
things, but unless you vet the author and the venue, it’s best to avoid this as a source.
Avoid Papermills: consultation of such sites likely constitutes plagiarism.
Tutoring sites: you run the risk of committing an act of academic dishonesty (e.g.
plagiarism) by consulting such sites.
Personal blogs and websites: bloggers and cyber-authors who lack certifiable
credibility on specific topics lack the ability to substantiate your arguments and, thus,
should be avoided.
Q&A sites (e.g. Ask.com, Yahoo Answers): these are watered-down versions of
About.com at best and should, thus, be avoided as they do your arguments no credit
whatsoever.
are useful ways to communicate with others interested/invested in particular topics
(e.g. your classmates within the Cybercafe and the other course-based Discussion
Forums). But, messages posted online are not sources of research on which you can
rely in substantiating your arguments.
Freelance article sites (e.g. Helium, Associated Content): these lack sufficient
credibility to support your own arguments.
36
References
Komm, A. (2012). Avoiding plagiarism flow chart. Grantham University, Kansas City, MO.
© Grantham University 2012
A
Abstract In APA, abstracts are found directly following the title page and are
typically a 150-200 word summary of the following article or paper.
Academic paper Academic papers are, for the most part, designed with two distinct
purposes in mind: to analyze, interpret, explain, or argue about a topic;
and to demonstrate an intellectual understanding of the course or field
for which it is being written.
Active sentence Active sentences are sentences in which the subject performs the
action.
Active voice Active voice entails the use of a subject-verb construction (active
sentences) throughout the majority of a piece of writing.
Adjective Adjectives provide information about, clarify, or describe nouns,
pronouns, or other adjectives.
Adverb Adverbs do very much the same thing as adjectives except they clarify
and describe verbs.
Agenda The underlying motivation for the creation of a text.
Agreement Consistency in time, point of view, plurality or not, and so on within a
text.
Analysis The process of looking closely and critically at a text to determine what
it means, how it presents its ideas, its effectiveness, and so on.
Anecdote Brief stories or slices-of-life that help to make a point
Annotate To underline or highlight important passages in a text and to make
notes in the margins.
APA style The official writing and documentation style of the American
Psychological Association (APA), which is Grantham University’s
official style of documentation and citation for all courses.
Appeal An appeal is an argument that connects to the readers’ needs, such as
achievement, belonging, or survival.
Appendix The Appendix at the end of a text, report, or dissertation, contains
appendices that provided additional information pertaining to the text.
Application paper An application paper focuses on experiences and qualities that suit the
writer for a specific position or program.
38
Argument Argument involves a course in logical thinking intended to convince
the reader to accept an idea or to take action.
Argumentative paper An argumentative paper presents an argument about a timely, debatable
topic.
Artifact An artifact is an object made or modified by a human culture.
Attributive phrase A group of words that indicates the source of an idea or quotation.
Attributive tag See attributive phrase.
Audience This term literally refers to the listeners or hearers of a speech,
including the intended listeners/hearers, but is commonly used to refer
to the intended reader or readers for a piece of writing.
B
Basic listing A brief, somewhat informal itemizing of main points.
Biased words Words that unfairly or disrespectfully depict individuals of groups.
Bibliography Lists of works that cover a particular subject.
Block quotation A long quotation of 40 words or more. Block quotations are formatted
in a way that sets them apart from the rest of the text by tabbing- in
each line, omitting the quotation marks, and leaving the citation outside
of the end punctuation.
Blogs Online journals (shorthand for “Web log”).
Body language Body language is a communication style that involves the use of
physical cues to indicate a person’s level of comfort, interest,
engagement, etc.
Body paragraph A paragraph comprising, in part, the central portion or body of a paper
or other, similarly structured, document, which is focused on
articulating, developing, and supporting a single point of the larger
argument presented by the author with his/her thesis statement in the
introductory paragraph(s).
Boolean operators Words or symbols used when searching research databases that
describe the relationship between various words or phrases in a search.
39
C
Call numbers A set of numbers used by the Library of Congress that specify the
subject area, topic, and authorship or title of a book, magazine, or other
text.
Camera-eye An approach to writing that involves sharing details as though a camera
lens moving across a subject.
Cause-effect paper A paper that examines the conditions or actions that lead to a specific
outcome.
Chronology Order of events as they have occurred in time. We often refer to
descriptions of events in chronological order.
Citation An agreed-upon notation that gives credit to those who informed the
ideas within a text that did not originate with the text’s author.
Classical argument Until recently, the most popular of argumentative styles. This style,
invented in ancient Greece, involves two individuals arguing opposite
sides of an argument in order to convince an unbiased third person.
Clichés Overused words or phrases that, through time, have lost their meaning.
For example, “It’s raining cats and dogs!” or, “It wasn’t just easy; it
was a piece of cake!”
Climax The most exciting moment in a narrative; the moment at which the
person succeeds, fails, or learns something.
Closed question Questions that can be answered by a simple “yes” or “no”.
Clustering A form of brainstorming by freely recording words and phrases around
a nucleus word.
Coherence Strong connection between sentences in a paragraph; achieved through
transition and repetition.
Colloquialism Colloquialisms are common words which work well in common
conversation, but are not suitable for academic writing. Words like,
“cool,” “sweet,” “y’all,” and “gonna” are colloquialisms. Often, these
can also be whole phrases like, “I was as nervous as a long-tailed cat in
a room full of rocking chairs.”
Comma splice A common error in writing made when the writer combines two
independent clauses together with a comma (and nothing else). (i.e.
“There was no way I was going alone, she said she wouldn’t dream of
letting me out of her sight.”).
Concessions Openly recognizing the validity of opposing viewpoints.
40
Conflict The obstacles or adversaries confronted by people in narratives; person
vs. person, person vs. society, person vs. self, person vs. technology,
person vs. nature, etc.
Conjunction A word that joins two ideas within a sentence. For example: “I love
pizza, and I love tacos.” The conjunction is “and.” Another example
would be: “I would love some pizza, but it gives me heartburn.
Connotation The suggestion made by a word or group of words—the implied
meaning.
Context The set of circumstances in which a statement is made; the text and
other factors that surround a specific statement and are crucial to
understanding it.
Contraction The shortening or abbreviation of a phrase of two or more words into a
single word for the sake of efficiency and/or for use within informal
writing or speech (e.g. do not may be contracted as don’t). While
contractions are often found in informal modes of writing and speech,
they are not appropriate in academic writing.
Controversies Issues about which there are two or more strongly opposing views or
highly debatable issues.
grammar, and formatting.
Copyright Legal ownership of the text of a document, entitling the owner of the
copyright to determine if/when/how that text may be reproduced.
D
Database An electronic repository of information organized by subject and/or
academic or professional discipline (e.g. scholarly articles).
Debatable topic A topic that is not mere fact, but can be argued from at least two
different angles.
Deductive reasoning Reasoning that works from general principles or ideas; through specific
applications, support, and/or examples; to a conclusion.
Defensible position A claim that is debatable, but can be strongly supported by evidence; a
claim that is neither fact nor an unsupportable opinion.
Denotation A word’s literal meaning.
Dialogue The words spoken by people. In writing, dialogue is set apart by
quotation marks.
Directed writing An exploration tactic using one of a set of thinking moves: describe,
compare, associate, analyze, argue, or apply.
41
Direct quotation A word-for-word statement or passage from an original source. In
writing, quotations are typically set apart by quotation marks and
always cited. See also block quotation)
Documentation Crediting sources of information, through in-text citations or references
and a list of works cited or references, generally on a page or pages
located at the end of a paper.
DOI A Digital Object Identifier is an alphanumeric code that online content
providers (e.g. databases, scholarly journals) provide as an alternative
to the actual URL of a document so that researchers may cite those
online documents using a static identifier within their bibliographic
citations.
Drafting Writing sentences and paragraphs to create an initial draft of a paper—
should contain a beginning, a middle, and an end.
E
EBSCO The online research database provided to students and faculty by
Grantham University for the purposes of conducting academic research
necessary for courses of study offered by the University. This database
provides bibliographic citations and, in many cases, full texts of articles
originally published in peer-reviewed, scholarly journals.
Editing Refining a draft in terms of word choice and sentence style and
checking it for conventions.
Ellipsis A set of three periods with one space preceding and following each
period; a punctuation mark that indicates a deletion of material.
Paper The process of trying or testing (from the French verb, paperer,
translated as to try); a written document that explores a particular
question or issue, typically offering a thesis and supporting argument in
response.
Ethos An argumentative strategy designed to build, and then use the
audience’s sense of trust and respect for the arguer to promote an idea.
Etymology The origin of a word.
Extended definition A type of analytical writing that explores the meaning of a specific
term, providing denotation, connotation, and a variety of perspectives
on the term.
Extreme claims Claims that include words (all, best, never, worst) that are overly
positive or negative.
Facts Statements that can be checked for accuracy through empirical
evidence.
Fair use Rules governing the use of small (not large) portions of a text for non-
commercial purposes.
Fake writing voice A writing voice that sounds overly academic, bland, or unnatural.
Feasible Do-able; reasonable—given time, budgets, resources, and
consequences.
Field research An on-site scientific study conducted for the purpose of gathering raw
data.
First draft The initial writing in which the writing connects facts and details about
the topic.
First person A confessional or conversational style of writing that connects the
thoughts of the writer directly to the reader through the use of the
pronouns: I, me, we, us and so on. Good for some papers, but in
general, is not considered appropriate for academic writing. First
person is frowned upon when writing APA Style research papers.
Flush The justification of the text in a paper (meaning to which margin of the
page the text lines up). In APA, with the exception of page numbers,
the title of the paper, the title-block, certain level titles, block
quotations, the abstract title, and the References page title-- all text
should be justified flush left. Page numbers are placed flush right, and
all of the other exceptions are center justified.
Focus The specific part of the subject to be covered in a piece of writing.
Focused free-writing A form of free writing that is approached from a specific angle or as a
quick draft of a paper.
Forecasting Also known as foreshadowing, this is a writing technique that shows a
preview of what the reader can expect throughout the rest of a
document. In academic writing, forecasting usually happens within the
thesis statement or within the transitions between paragraphs or
sections.
Foreshadowing (see forecasting)
Form The type of writing; for example, report, letter, proposal, editorial,
paper, story, or poem.
Formal English Carefully worded language suitable for most academic writing.
Formatting The visual organization of a document, including, but not limited to,
margins, font, font size, font color, textual justification, line spacing,
etc.
43
Formulaic writing Writing that stiffly adheres to a prescribed format and, because of that,
fails to make an impact.
Forwarding The process of interacting with an idea through writing. When we are
forwarding, we are changing the idea, extending it, reshaping it, and
filtering it through our consciousness in order to send the new, altered
version out into the world.
Fragment An incomplete sentence (missing a verb or a subject).
Free-writing A form of non-stop writing used during the early stages of the writing
process to collect thoughts and ideas.
G
Glossary A list of important words and terms.
Graphic organizer A chart or diagram used to arrange the main points and essential details
of a paper.
H
Hanging indent A hanging indent is the indention of the first line of a paragraph . Using
the tab-key is generally the easiest way to create a hanging indent, but
one can always use 12 spaces on the space bar.
Hyperlinks Specially formatted text that enables readers to click to another spot on
the Internet.
Implications Natural results, direct and indirect, whether good or bad.
Inductive reasoning Reasoning that works from particular details toward general
conclusions.
In-text citation Like citation, an in-text citation is an agreed-upon notation that gives
credit to those who informed the ideas within a text that did not
originate with the text’s author. In APA in-text citations are required in
44
brief form within the body of the text, and are fully-cited on the
References page(s).
Informal English Language characterized by a more relaxed, personal tone suitable for
personal writing.
Intensity A writer’s level of concern for the topic as indicated by the writing
voice.
J
Journal A notebook used regularly for personal writing.
Journals Publications providing specialized scholarly information for a narrowly
focused audient. Journals may be published monthly, bi-monthly,
quarterly, etc. Most journals are now also digitized. Many can be found
in Grantham library’s free database. Some online journals require a
subscription fee to access.
L
Level of language The level of language a writer uses—informal, semi-formal, or formal.
Line diagram A graphic organizer used to arrange ideas for expository writing.
Logical fallacies Logical fallacies are false arguments based on fuzzy, dishonest, or
incomplete thinking.
Logos An argumentative strategy designed to appeal to an audience’s logic.
Loose sentence A sentence that provides a base clause near the beginning, followed by
explanatory phrases and clauses.
M
Main claim A debatable statement, the thesis or key point in an argument.
Medium The way that writing is delivered; for example, in a printed publication
or online.
Metaphor A comparison that equates two dissimilar things without using like or
as; saying that one thing is another.
45
Mnemonics Memory techniques in which new ideas are associated with more
recognizable or memorable words, images, or ideas.
Modifiers Words that limit or describe other words or groups of words; adjectives
or adverbs.
N
Nominal A noun form of a verb such as description, instructions, confirmation.
Noun A part of speech that stands for a person, place, thing, or idea.
Nucleus word The central theme in a cluster, connecting all other ideas.
O
Omit To leave out.
Opinions Personally held attitudes or beliefs.
Options Choices provided with an assignment.
Order of importance A pattern of organization often used in persuasive writing in which the
writer begins or ends with the most convincing argument.
Order of location Organizing details according to their position; progressing from near to
far, inside to outside, and so on.
Organizing pattern The way that details are arranged in writing; for example, chronological
order or cause/effect order.
Original document A record that relates directly to an event, issue, object, or a
phenomenon.
Orphan A single line of a new paragraph at the bottom of a page.
Overall design The pattern the writing takes to move deas along—time order,
compare-contrast, and so on.
OWLs Online writing labs where individuals can get answers to their writing
questions.
46
P
Page design The elements (typography, spacing, graphics) that create the look of a
paper; readability is the focus of design for academic writing.
Paper mill A typically commercial organization, usually represented online
through a web site, offering academic-style papers or papers, usually
for a fee, to would-be plagiarizers.
Parallelism Repeating phrases or sentence structures to show the relationship
between ideas.
Paraphrase To discuss an entire document in one’s own words.
Passive sentence Sentences in which the subject is acted upon.
Passive voice A subject-verb construction in which the subject is acted upon, not
performing the action as it would be in the active voice.
Pathos An argumentative strategy designed to appeal to an audience’s
emotions.
PDF Portable document file; a file form that preserves a document according
to its exact appearance and is readable through Adobe software.
Periodicals Publications (journals, magazines, newsletters) or broadcasts produced
at regular intervals (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly).
Personal narrative Writing about a memorable experience; often includes personal
reflection and thoughts.
Pivotal points Moments in which a significant change occurs; literally a point in
which a person changes direction.
Plagiarism The act of presenting someone else’s work as one’s own, whether
intentionally or unintentionally.
Planning The thinking and organizing that go into establishing a direction and
structure for writing.
Platitudes Stale or unoriginal thoughts.
Point of view The perspective from which the writer approaches the writing,
including first-person, second-person, or third-person point of view.
Portfolio A collection of selected work by a group or author.
Preposition A word that shows a where/when relationship with the other words in
the sentence or clause. Prepositions include words such as up, in,
through, over, by, from, and so on.
Primary sources Original sources that provide first-hand information about a
subject.
47
Pronoun A word that replaces a noun in a sentence to help alleviate
redundancy. Pronouns include words such as he, she, they, we, it, them,
his, her, and so on.
Proofread The act of checking a document for errors before submitting it.
Public domain Materials provided by the government provided as a part of the “copy
left” movement, or, generally speaking, documents over seventy-five
years old.
Publish The act of sharing a completed work with another.
Purpose The goal of a piece of writing; for example, to inform, to convince, to
analyze, to persuade.
Q
Qualifiers Words or phrases that limit or refine a claim, making it more
reasonable.
Quotation A word-for-word statement or passage from an original source. In
writing, quotations are always set apart and cited.
R
Rapport Personal connection, trust, and teamwork.
Rebuttal A tactful argument aimed at weakening the opposing point of view.
Redirect To restate the main claim or argument.
Redundancy Words used together that mean nearly the same thing. Also, the
repetitive use of a word or phrase when that word or phrase could be
replaced with another.
Redundancy Words used together that mean nearly the same thing. Also, the
repetitive use of a word or phrase when that word or phrase could be
replaced with another.
References Also known as sources, references are made up of information that has
been gathered from external works in order to provide evidence toward
a claims or to draw associations between authors within a paper.
References can be journal articles, books, information on websites,
magazines, videos, interviews or other documents. Most college
writing uses sources, but these references are generally limited to
specific forms and types by the course and/or instructor. APA insists
that references be scholarly in nature and generally asks that they be
48
peer reviewed. References should always be cited both in the body of
text and in the References page .
Reference listing A citation of a document that has been quoted, paraphrased, or
summarized within a paper and appears in the References page.
References page In APA, the References page is the last page of a paper. This page
includes an alphabetical listing of all the sources/references quoted,
summarized, and/or paraphrased within the paper. Source/reference
listings are expected to follow the APA citation style appropriate for
the particular type of source they refer to. Each listing is treated as an
individual, but reversed paragraph, with, the first line flush with the left
margin of the paper, and with each additional line of the
source/reference listing tabbed-in.
Refute To prove an idea or argument false, illogical, or undesirable.
Repetition Repeating words or synonyms where necessary to remind the reader of
what has already been said.
Research paper A fairly long paper, complete with a thesis statement, supporting
evidence, integrated resources, and careful documentation.
Restrictions Limitations of choice within an assignment.
Résumé A brief document that outlines a person’s employment objectives and
highlights the person’s job skills, experience, and education.
Revising Improving and/or redirecting a draft through large-scale changes such
as adding, deleting, rearranging, and reworking.
Rhetoric The art of using language effectively.
Running head Running heads (aka running titles) are brief versions of the title that
appear in the top, left of each page, and are presented in all capital
letters. Running heads should be no more than 50 characters in length,
and no more than five words long. Due to their brevity, running heads
are often abbreviated versions of the title of the paper. On the title
page, the words Running head: precede the title (not in italics or in all
capital letters). The remaining pages of the paper include only the
abbreviated title without the additional wording.
S
Search engine An online research tool (e.g. Google, Yahoo) through which
researchers may search the internet for webpages, documents, etc.
Secondary source Sources that are at least once removed from the original source; sources
that provide second-hand information.
Second person The perspective or voice of direct address, in which the author or
speaker addresses the reader or hearer using a second-person pronoun
49
(i.e. you), as if in conversation. Second person is useful when giving
individual direction or in some technical writing. But, due to its casual,
familiar, and often accusatory tone, it is highly discouraged in
academic writing.
Sensory details Sights, sounds, smells, tastes, textures, temperatures and other details
connected to the five senses—showing rather than telling about the
subject.
Sentence combining The act of combining ideas in sentences to show relationships and to
make connections.
Sentence expanding The act of extending basic ideas with different types of phrases and
clauses.
Sentence outline A more formal method of arrangement in which a writer states each
main point and essential detail as a complete sentence.
Sentence variety The varying of beginnings, lengths, and types of sentences within a
paper in order to make the writing interesting to the reader.
Sexist language Language that, unintentionally or not, accounts for only one gender
despite being directed toward a mixed audience.
Showcase portfolio A collection of appropriate, finished pieces of writing.
Slang Words considered to lie outside of the standard English language
because they are faddish, familiar to a few people, and may be
insulting.
Slanted question Questions that presuppose a specific answer.
Sources Also known as a references, sources are made up of information that
has been consulted to provide evidence within a paper. Sources can be
journal articles, books, information on websites, magazines, videos,
interviews or other documents. Most college writing uses sources, but
these sources are generally limited to specific forms and types by the
course and/or instructor. APA insists that sources be scholarly in
nature and generally asks that they be peer reviewed. Sources should
always be cited both in the body of text and in the References page.
Spatial organization A pattern of organization in which the writer logically orders
descriptive details from far to near, left to right, top to bottom, and so
on. Also see camera-eye.
Style The variety, originality, and clarity of a piece of writing.
Subject The general area covered by a piece of writing.
Summary Condensed representation, in one’s own words rather than through
quotation, of the main points of a passage. Summary is designed to
extract the meaning of a piece of work in a form that essentializes the
original author’s words.
Surface change The edited (corrected) words, phrases, and sentences in a piece of
writing.
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Surface error A problem in word choice, grammar, mechanics, usage, etc. that do
little to harm the transference of meaning, but appear untidy and
unprofessional.
T
Tab A series of 12 spaces placed at the beginning of a paragraph. Can more
easily be accomplished by striking the “Tab” key.
Tactful Being sensitive to the feelings of others; avoiding unnecessary offense.
Taxonomy A system of classification of items—plants, animals, ideas, movements,
etc.
Tertiary source Sources that provide third-hand information, such as wikis; though
these sources are a good place to begin to formulate ideas, using them
as evidence to drive an academic paper is highly discouraged at the
college-level.
Thesis Statement A sentence or group of sentences that sum up the central idea of a piece
of writing; thesis statements serve as a map to the body of a paper.
Third person The perspective or voice of indirect observation, in which the author or
speaker uses third person pronouns (e.g. he, she, they) to describe the
actions and interactions of persons with things and in places at which
the author or speaker is/was not present. In fiction, this is the voice of
the semi-omniscient or omniscient narrator.
Thought details Impressions, emotions, predictions, and reflections; details that reveal
perceptions rather than sensations.
Title page The page on which, in the APA style, the title of the paper, the name of
the author(s), and the name of the organization are identified. Title
pages are the first page of an APA style paper.
Title block The identifying information found on the title page of an APA style
paper. Title blocks are center-justified, and include, in descending
order, the title of the paper, the name of its author, and the organization
the paper is being written for (for papers written in college, this
organization is almost always the name of the school).
Tone The overall feeling or effect created by a writer’s thoughts and his or
her choice of words.
Topic outline A less formal method of arrangement in which the writer states each
main point and essential detail as a word of a phrase.
Transition Words or phrases that help tie ideas together.
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U
Uninspiring draft A draft in which the writer fails to connect with his or her readers or
makes a lasting impression.
Unity Oneness achieved in a paragraph through a strong focus on a single,
central idea.
Verb An action word.
Vivid verb Specific action verbs, such as lunge, trudge, etc. that help to create
clear images.
Voice The tone of the writing, often affected by the personality of the writer.
W
Widow A single word of a short line carried over to the top of the next page.
Working thesis A preliminary answer to a main research question; the focus of one’s
research.
Worn-out topic A paper that is dull or unoriginal because the topic has been
overworked. Abortion, Legalizing Marijuana, Global Warming, and
Lowering the Drinking Age are all examples of worn-out topics.
Writing portfolio A selected group of writings by a single author.
Writing process The steps that a writer follows to develop a thoughtful and thorough
piece of writing.
© Grantham University 2012